3 Tips on How to Write a CV a Real Estate Developer will read in the Gulf

  • 24 Feb 2021
  • redpath
  • 2018
CV’s are a vastly subjective, but nonetheless efficient means of assessing candidate suitability. Advice on content, length, chronology, personal details will vary hugely according to role and industry preference as well as culture. One size does not fit all. BUT. If you are the thin sliver of the almighty LinkedIn -osphere that is interested in real estate roles right now in the Arabian Gulf, some nifty nuggets below might help you stand out. As a recruiter, we look at CV’s through the eyes of what our clients want and need. We want our candidates to produce excellent, relevant, sharp accounts of themselves that attract attention, demonstrate value and single them out from the crowd. And the fact is, our clients know there are more candidates on the market than there are jobs. In a maturing market, as teams get leaner and expectations rise, candidates must demonstrate they know how to manage these new levels of risk. So what do they need? How do you show you’ve done it? Many real estate developers need candidates who have completed a project from original business case to completion and handover, sale or asset management. In reality, the market isn’t full of such people, because some developments can last 5-10 years or more, and people move on for multiple reasons before such a project completes, if it’s finished at all. Some reasons are within their control. Some are not. The alternative is sometimes to seek those who have done so outside of the region. This can add much needed expertise; but this can be a big risk too. It might come at the expense of local experience, language skills, supply chain knowledge and stakeholder relationships, and frankly an understanding of “how things work here”. All of which are hugely valuable. To navigate this, what follows are 3 answers to the question we all ask. Where do I start? 1. Update your CV all the time. Especially if are aren’t looking for another role. Hardly anyone stops to note the goals they achieve whilst they are in a job. This makes it all the more difficult when you are faced with a CV you need to update at short notice and can’t remember. On top of this; your dream job doesn’t always come up when you plan for it to. Don’t make the lack of time to write a CV be the reason you aren’t considered for it. Most simply add their most recent experience to an old CV. I can’t blame you, I’ve done it too, but it’s lazy and the reader knows this. It feels stale. So commit once a month to noting the following achievements:
  • If you successfully built a new team or attracted a great hire with limited resources.
  • Completed a key stage of the development lifecycle on time and on budget.
  • Got a project into construction where you created the business plan and led feasibility study.
  • Made money or saved money on a project.
  • Got a feasibility study approved.
  • Solved a problem critical to ensuring the project was a success.
  • Achieved something completely new and outside your comfort zone.
2. Developers look for project experience. Make your CV project focused. It’s tempting to write a list of duties and responsibilities, then your achievements, then add some pictures of the projects at the bottom, or even separate from the CV.  So do most people, and it’s not what your audience is looking for. You should be able to explain the key attributes of your role in a short paragraph, including the project, everything else should be what you achieved whilst in the post. Your duties and responsibility will shine through these achievements, and hold the reader’s attention.
  • When describing the project, include the asset class, development timeline, point in the development lifecycle you joined, and the point you left. Explain the size of the team directly employed by you, and the consultant, architect and PMC on board. Include the schemes budget where you can.
  • Then start adding all the achievements as outlined in point 1. Making these achievements project specific saves time and leaves the reader in no doubt what you were responsible for, what the risk profile of the project was, and why you have listed an achievement as such.  Stuck on what to write? Ask your old boss what you did well; a third-party perspective can be extremely helpful.
  • Don’t assume people will know the companies you have worked for and what they represent. Writing a short explanation will provide valuable context. Your audience won’t spend their time googling who you worked for on first reading. Make it obvious.
3. Get the basics right. Some details are more important than you think.
  • At the top of your CV, write your notice period (and how flexible it is, your home address (and whether you will relocate or not), visa status and number of dependents. To a developer, timing is everything, and stating your flexibility can be the difference to being shortlisted or not.
  • You can say “I” in a CV. Sometimes it’s the only way to figure if you did it rather than being part of a team you didn’t lead that did.
  • Include a professional and up to date photo. Your audience will react positively to a smartly dressed head shot; as long as it accurately reflects the person they will meet.
  • For each project you have worked on, include the year and month it started, when you joined it, and when it finished. Some projects last for years or are so vast that literally hundreds may have worked on it. Make clear when, where or how you impacted on it. Getting a feasibility study approved and project delivered immediately after the GFC is a mammoth achievement in itself. Just stating the month, you achieved something says a lot.
  • Make time to write a good CV in the first place. You need time to collect all sorts of information that you won’t have to hand when a recruiter calls. A rushed CV, unless you are literally the perfect candidate, rarely makes it through.
  • With very few exceptions, no one will read a CV past 5 pages. Get to the point.
  • If you can, tailor each CV to the job/person you are applying to. Consider the challenges that company may be facing, or the pressure the hiring manager is under. If you were in their shoes, what would a candidate need to demonstrate to solve your problem?
Finally, be open to criticism about your CV. Invite it, in fact. What worked a decade ago, or even last year, might not work now for lots of reasons. Seek out those whose opinions you value that can tell you what’s important right now. Use their advice to frame how you write it. Then ask them to critique it and be blunt. It might be the best advice you ever get. Nathan Minnighan is a Senior Consultant with Redpath Partners, a Real Estate recruitment specialist, based in the Dubai Office. To get in contact with Nathan you can email him on nathan@redpathpartners.com or +971 (0) 4278 5169.  Back to news